Last month, Uptime Institute released a new Outage Severity Rating (OSR) system geared towards helping the data center industry more clearly define how service outages affect businesses from an overall impact standpoint. In this new view, the ramifications extend beyond just the number of physical infrastructure components that may have been impacted, now taking into account IT service delivery and other top-down metrics designed to help articulate severity more holistically. Considering the number of publicly recorded outages has risen from 27 in 2016 to 78 in 2018, it’s no surprise public interest in such occurrences is trending.
Take for instance a site like downdetector.com, which offers a real-time, crowd-sourced and user-reported view of service disruptions and outages for many of the world’s most popular and well-known websites, service providers and more. Over the past few weeks alone, a variety of traditional news outlets have reported on high-profile network outages and events impacting email service providers, retailers and more—all magnified when the general public that utilizes and relies on these services takes notice beyond the walls of the data center.
According to Andy Lawrence, executive director of research for Uptime Institute, “public awareness of outages is becoming more pronounced as the number and impact of outages increases… the OSR eliminates the equipment-centric view of outages, and instead focuses on the ability of for the hybrid digital infrastructure to support the required IT business services being delivered by the infrastructure.”
Of course, for those who specialize in physical IT infrastructure, there’s still plenty to be said—and done—when it comes to an equipment-centric view of the data center and its role in network uptime and reliability. That includes taking a proactive and preventative approach to the following:
- Enhancing physical security and compliance reporting with electronic locks that log access
- Reducing power outages at the rack level with power distribution units (PDUs) that provide remote monitoring
- Reducing thermal issues and leaks at the room and rack level with PDUs that provide environmental monitoring
- Reducing damage from seismic events with specially rated seismic bracing and racks
- Preventing damage to network cables and connections with sound cable management solutions
- Preventing damage to equipment from electromagnetic interference using proper bonding and grounding techniques and solutions
At the end of the day, whether it’s rated minimal or severe, every outage is an opportunity for improvement and learning. The steps we take now are the headlines we can avoid later.